Posted on: June 24, 2022

ATAP Certification: How to Become TIPS Certified in NYC

If you’re looking for a job serving alcohol in New York, you may come across the need for a “bartender’s license.” You may also see that you need “ATAP” or “TIPS” training.

What you may not realize is that all of these requirements are the same thing. It’s not hard to earn bartending certification in New York once you know what you’re looking for, but it can be confusing.

Let’s look at the requirements and how you meet them.

Do You Need a Bartending License in New York?

Most places don’t license bartenders in the same way they license professions like real estate. But a “bartending license” is often shorthand for the certificate of completion that you get when you take a state-approved training program on liquor law compliance.

In some states, a bartender’s license is required by law. In other states, including New York, it’s a voluntary program. Legally, you don’t need New York State (NYS) bartending certification.

You may need it to get a job, though.

Why Should You Get NYS Bartending Certification?

Most New York employers prefer to hire certified applicants because it protects them from fines and penalties.

The New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) operates what’s called a Responsible Vendor Program (RVP). Responsible Vendor Programs are designed to encourage businesses that sell or serve alcohol to apply best practices.

Normally, businesses with a liquor license are held responsible for any on-premises violations of New York’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.

But if you violate the law and your employer has proof that their staff has completed a certified training program, the NYSLA may reduce the penalty. It’s not a free pass – for example, businesses will only be considered for a break if they’ve had no other serving violations in the past 5 years.

This is where ATAP and TIPS certification comes in.

What is ATAP Certification?

When you’re told to get a bartending license in NYC or NYS, what they actually mean is ATAP certification.

ATAP stands for Alcohol Training Awareness Program. The NYSLA sets the curriculum for ATAP courses and certifies schools that meet their requirements. Only New York-certified ATAP providers count for possible penalty reduction.

The purpose of ATAP is to teach licensees and their employees the practical skills they need to follow the law. That includes how to:

  • Check identification and recognize a fake ID
  • Prevent underage drinking
  • Recognize intoxicated persons and stop selling or serving them

ATAP courses also discuss the potential consequences of violating the law, from drunk driving deaths to legal fines and civil liability.

What is TIPS Certification?

TIPS stands for Training for Intervention ProcedureS, a dynamic skills-based program that helps students recognize potential alcohol-related problems and intervene.

TIPS is an ATAP-certified vendor. Because it’s a popular, nationwide brand, people often use TIPS as a synonym for ATAP or other bartending license programs.

How Do You Get TIPS Certified in New York City or State?

TIPS training is available in a classroom and as an online course (called eTIPS). Both methods are ATAP certified.

Classroom sessions are delivered by a certified TIPS trainer. Classroom sessions are a bit longer but offer the ability to practice what you learn with your classmates. You can look up nearby sessions or request training on our website. Due to the pandemic, some classroom sessions are being held virtually.

Online training is self-paced for convenience. You can sign up for TIPS here.

Whichever format you choose, you’ll take a multiple-choice certification test at the end. Once you pass, you’ll get a TIPS Certification card for your wallet.

Which Type of New York TIPS Certification Do I Need?

There are a few different types of ATAP-certified TIPS courses, depending on the type of business.

The on-premises course is for anyone who serves alcohol by the drink in open containers for immediate consumption. It’s appropriate for front-of-house staff in establishments like restaurants, bars, and catering venues.

The off-premises course is for anyone who sells sealed containers of alcohol for off-premises consumption. It’s for clerks at licensed grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores, or specialty retail stores.

“Off-premises and Delivery” is suited for businesses that sell alcoholic beverages for takeaway and delivery, including restaurants and liquor stores.

In New York, TIPS also offers specialized courses for gambling facilities and concession services.

How Long Is NYS TIPS Training?

New York TIPS classes are three to four hours long when taken online, and four to five hours long in a classroom setting.

How Often Do You Have to Repeat TIPS Certification in New York?

In New York, TIPS certification is valid for three years. For continuing protection, you have to repeat the training before your expiration date. This ensures that you have been trained with the most up-to-date state regulations.

How Long Until I Get Proof of My New York Bartending License?

You’ll have access to a temporary certificate of completion right away. Your wallet card should arrive in the mail in 7 to 10 business days.

On the Fence? Final Thoughts on TIPS Certification for NYC/NYS

Even if you’ve found a job where your employer doesn’t require NYS bartending certification, you should get TIPS certified for your own protection.

In New York, bartenders, servers, and sellers can be held liable for the actions of customers. If something goes wrong and you can prove that you took the required precautions, you might have a good defense. But first, you need to know the law and the best practices that hold up in New York court.

Register for New York TIPS training today to get started!